Why you should visit Giethoorn when you’re in the Netherlands

After the positive reactions to my blog about things to do in the Netherlands I’ve started a series about special cities and places. In my earlier blog I talked about Utrecht and Rotterdam.

Today I want tell you why you should visit a little place called Giethoorn.

For this I don’t use just my own experience. During the summer school, I’m surprised to find that students give me great advice for things to do in my own country.


Giet… what? You probably haven’t heard of this place in the Netherlands. But each year students visit this little place that is around one and a half hours away from Amsterdam.  

Giethoorn is a small village in the province called Overijssel.

A small town away from all the tourist hotspots? What is the big deal you ask.

Well for many tourists Giethoorn is the most beautiful example of a typical Dutch village. When thinking about small towns and villages in the Netherlands, the images you see on postcards and in advertisements are typical of Giethoorn.

What is so special then?

The village with about 2,620 inhabitants is unique because of the way it’s organized with the water and all the (small) bridges. The main houses are farms, most of which are located on islands.

This means that Giethoorn is a village with hardly any streets.

The main mode of transport is a boat (also called a punter). Giethoorn therefore has several nicknames such as the Dutch Venice.

Why should you visit Giethoorn?

First a little warning. It can be crowded in Giethoorn because it  is really popular, especially with Chinese tourists.

There are even plans to make a small version of Giethoorn in a new amusement park in Shanghai. I’ve heard that these days, some people really think Giethoorn is an amusement park or museum. They even walk into people’s houses or ask what time the city ‘closes’.

Learning Dutch outside of Amsterdam

Asking about going to the ‘provincie’ (countryside) instead of Amsterdam is a normal question. In the next video students talk about their experiences with studying Dutch, outside of the big cities in the West of the Netherlands, in Drenthe! 

Of course, the countryside is very beautiful, and a big plus for going here is that in Drenthe people have the patience to speak Dutch with you.

In fact, it is really appreciated here!

Quite different from a fast moving and international city like Amsterdam, where people immediately ‘switch’ to English when they hear that your Dutch is not perfect!

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Bart de Pau
online Dutch teacher & founder of the Dutch Summer School & Dutch Winter School